Ukraine’s State Emergency Services (SES) on Thursday said that heavy Russian shelling in Kharkiv led to the deaths of four people, including two children, while a shopping mall in the centre of the country’s second city was destroyed.
According to the SES update posted on Facebook, the Russian forces carried out shelling and aerial bombardment in residential areas of Kharkiv and the region’s villages on Wednesday night.
In one of the shelling incidents, a house in the village of Slobozhanske was hit, where the two women and two children were killed, while a five-year-old girl was injured.
SES units were continuing search operations for more possible victims trapped in the debris, said the update.
At 10.46 p.m., the SES received a message about a fire and destruction of the Nikolsky shopping mall located in the centre of Kharkiv.
Three rescue services were dispatched to the scene and the fire, about 100 sq.metres in size, was finally contained at about 3 a.m. on Thursday.
The SES confirmed that there were no victims.
Due to the heavy shelling, rescuers answered more than 30 calls to extinguish fires and clear the rubble of destroyed buildings.
In total, more than 40 units of fire and rescue equipment and about 200 SES personnel were involved, reports the online Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper.
In Kharkiv, rescuers, volunteers, and utility service workers are clearing the rubble from destroyed residential and office buildings.